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September 02, 2009

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Evan, I share your enthusiasm for the Village Tavern's policies. Although I have not been in a position to splurge on their oldest bottles, it makes me happy that they are available!

This is a restaurant I always recommend to people who are visiting the area for the first time.

Evan: When Nena, Jackson and I first visited the region (and stayed at your cottage) we went to the Village Tavern based on your reco.

The wine list really is amazing and very cool. No one down here is stocking old LI wines in such amounts!

I did think that the food lagged behind the wine list though. It was fine, but underwhelming.

I honestly can't remember the vintage, but we had a mid-90s riesling from Fox Run that was really really good. Some petrol had emerged along with some almondy hints that were almost vanilla-like. Very cool experience.

I'd go again JUST for the wine list.

Lenn - We've typically found the food very solid, though not in the ethereal realm of a Suzanne or a few select other restaurants. But you're right: It's worth the trip just to experiment with an older bottle. Heck of a lot of fun.

Evan,

As a local who regularly finds himself at the Tavern, I definitely enjoyed reading and watching. The thinness of my wallet forces me to avoid the oldest vintages, but just browsing through the list can be a lot of fun (and a guided tour through memories of past tastings). You don't have to be a practiced connoisseur to appreciate it, either. On an early visit, the first Finger Lakes wine that my mother-in-law fell in love with was Rooster Hill's 2003 Cayuga white. Rooster Hill doesn't even produce that hybrid anymore, but the exact wine she tasted was at the Village Tavern at a reasonable markup. I would have been nervous about serving a five-year-old hybrid, but the Tavern always came through, and the wine helped to make her visits complete.
Have you tried the Union Block Cafe in Hammondsport yet? It doesn't have the nostalgic feel the Tavern does for me, or the extensive cellar, but the wine list is pretty good and the quality Italian filled a gap in the area's dining options.

Ryan - Funny you ask... our original intention on the night we shot that video was to go to the Union Block Cafe. I've heard good things. We're now planning to go next month.

I can't help but feel like some of the wines on the Tavern's list are well past peak, but as you heard from the GM, they taste through quite often to make sure they're comfortable serving them.

As you know, Evan, past peak doesn't mean they are garbage or not worth drinking.

Sometimes wines on their last legs are really interesting.

Lenn - No doubt, reference the dr. Frank we're drinking in the video. But I was euphemizing. The truth is there some wines on the list that I would be shocked to find weren't totally shot. But it's great to hear the restaurant is periodically checking them.

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